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Ford isolated, new questions arise

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The Toronto mayor address the media outside his office earlier this month.

CHRIS YOUNG / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

The Toronto mayor address the media outside his office earlier this month.

TORONTO -- An increasingly isolated Mayor Rob Ford huddled with his two lawyers for close to an hour in his much smaller city hall offices Wednesday amid new questions about his workout trainer and the release of wiretap information.

Despite Ford's threats in recent days to sue both former staffers who talked to police, and city council for truncating his powers, there was little sign he would be carrying through with those.

Ford said he had been left no choice but to litigate after unproven court documents revealed his former aides had told police, among other things, the mayor was regularly intoxicated, abusive to subordinates and used sexual profanities to female staffers.

"My personal feeling is that he spoke as reaction to what he read," one of Ford's lawyers, Dennis Morris, said minutes after the meeting ended.

"I haven't heard that he's moving forward."

The mayor, who arrived late in the day at city hall, did not speak to reporters.

Ford's other lawyer -- an expert in municipal affairs -- was not immediately available to comment on the situation in which council stripped the scandal-plagued mayor of much of his power, budget and staff.

However, Morris gave no indication any litigation was imminent.

"Things are under consideration as to what the next steps would be," he said.

The lawyer did say the mayor was working out and looking better than ever.

However, a new report Wednesday said Ford has been consulting on a fitness plan with a trainer jailed in the U.S. in 2005 for steroid trafficking.

According to the National Post, Valerio Moscariello -- owner of Team Body Pro Athletics -- tweeted a now-deleted picture of himself in the gym with Ford.

Initially, Moscariello, who is in the middle of a 12-year coaching ban in Canada for administering the bulk-up hormones, spoke enthusiastically about Ford giving it his all on the treadmill and needing to lose some of his 336 pounds, the National Post said.

However, he later said it was a "joke picture and has been blown up for no reason."

Moscariello could not immediately be reached for comment.

Morris denied any connection between the mayor and the trainer.

"This man is not his workout coach at all," Morris said. "He has nothing to do with his workouts to my knowledge. This is not the man the mayor is training with."

Also Wednesday, courts released more of the documents police used in a drugs and guns investigation.

However, summaries of transcripts involving thousands of intercepted phone calls involving 56 people shed little light on the Ford scandal that has roiled the city.

Wednesday marked the first workday for Ford under the new regime in which deputy mayor Norm Kelly essentially wields the mayor's powers.

On Tuesday, 11 of Ford's staff -- including three of the most senior -- opted to move over to Kelly's expanded office.

Ford, who has admitted to smoking crack cocaine and binge drinking, was "doing a lot of moving around" and had not returned his calls, Kelly said.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 21, 2013 A10

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